Marc Jacobs' Gay Pride T-Shirt Scandal!
By Nick Burns
Marc Jacobs loves to make a statement (which is one of the many reasons we adore him). He always hawks festive wares and sports colorful window displays (Look! It's Marc in drag!) in his Bleecker Street boutiques, but now he's selling a rainbow t-shirt for Pride. But the shirt is making a statement that has ruffled a few feathers within the gay community.
The "Rebel Pride" shirt, designed by Jon Lynn, features a remixed upside-down rainbow flag with a confederate flag superimposed over it.
The Confederate flag doesn't have the friendliest historical connotations. Sure, it's an emblem of rebellion (and rebellion is soo chic right now!), but for many people it represents slavery and bloody racial disputes. Is that a reference that we want mixed with the homo banner?
While the rainbow flag is meant to celebrate diversity and welcome everyone under the Skittles colors, the Confederate banner is often viewed as divisive. The gay community already faces a ton of criticism for being myopic when it comes to racial issues.
I appreciate that MJ loves to push the envelope, but what exactly is he trying to say or do with this shirt? Is he trying to reclaim the Confederate flag? Make the rainbow chic again? Protest the Bushies? We'll let you know if we hear anything from the man himself.
I have mixed feelings about the shirt mostly because of my own crazy experience with the Confed flag. In my high school, when the gay-straight alliance created an educational display to celebrate June as gay pride month (I grew up in the SF Bay Area, just 30 minutes from the Castro), the right-wing students raised the confederate flag on our school's flagpole, while wearing offensive shirts with "straight pride" and "white pride" slogans. Needless to say, it wasn't pretty. Kids walked out of classes to protest, fights ensued, countless threats of violence occurred, parents complained about the gay pride display to administrators and many students were just plain scared. It was a horrible time and the GSA was forced to take down the seemingly-innocuous display. Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of the Confederate flag.
So, what do you think? Is Marc Jacob's gay pride shirt fashion forward or fashion faux-pas?